Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition and is most commonly seen in families where other members have components of the atopic triad – allergies, hay fever and/or asthma. The most common type of atopic dermatitis is called eczema.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:

  • Dry, scaly skin

  • Redness

  • Itching

  • Cracks behind the ears

  • A rash on the cheeks, arms and/or legs

Triggers can vary from person to person, however some of the most common atopic dermatitis triggers include:

  • Dry skin — which can easily become scaly, rough, and tight

  • Chemical irritants — everyday products like hand and dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, bubble bath and body wash can cause your skin to burn and itch, or become dry and red

  • Stress can cause a person’s atopic dermatitis to flare or get worse

  • Hot/cold temps and sweating can lead to itchy skin symptoms

  • Infection from bacteria and viruses that live in your environment (like staph, herpes, or certain types of fungi)

  • Allergens from the environment like seasonal pollen, dust mites, pet dander and mold

  • Hormones — flares may happen, especially in women, when certain hormones in the body increase or decrease


Depending on the severity of symptoms, atopic dermatitis can be treated with topical medications, which are applied to the skin; phototherapy, a form of light treatment; immunosuppressant drugs that broadly curb the immune system; and biologic drugs that target specific areas of the immune system.

You can take action to help control your atopic dermatitis:

  • Establish a daily skin care routine focused on bathing and moisturizing and using OTC hypoallergenic and fragrance free products, as well as prescription treatments as directed.

  • Try to pinpoint your atopic dermatitis triggers

  • Try not to scratch and rub the affected skin.

  • Dress in soft, breathable clothing and avoid itchy fabrics like wool.

  • Remove common, everyday allergens from your home.